Volunteers make clinics possible

Tama County still working through Tier 1B

Cara Ferch of Gladbrook (left) and Diana Rohach of Garwin were among the volunteer crew that's been assisting with vaccination clinics in Tama County this year. -- Photos provided

Volunteers have always been important fixtures in any community and now with COVID-19 vaccination clinics running their presence is that much more important.

Tama County Public Health began vaccinations clinics in February. For each clinic around 100 people are receiving either their first dose or second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

The work could not be done without the help of dozens of volunteers.

In February 32 volunteers assisted with clinics including PA’s, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, LPNs, CMAs and members of local Emergency Service Departments.

All together there was a total of 420.75 hours given by volunteers in the month of February.

“We can’t state enough how appreciated we are for our Volunteer Medical Reserve Corp (VMRC). Without their help we would not be able to provide the number of vaccinations each clinic that we do,” Public Health Director Shannon Zoffka said.

Vaccine clinics are still occurring weekly at the Iowa Juvenile Home.

Vaccination requirements

Gov. Kim Reynolds recently announced last week the vaccine would be open to all adults April 5 regardless of age or priority.

Since the start of the clinics Tama County Public Health has been receiving around 300 doses of the vaccination each week. That has not changed.

As of today there are no known plans for an increase in doses shipped to the county.

Public Health has been working through Tier 1B for the better part of March. As of last week they had vaccinated

School Mask Mandates

Some schools in the state have lifted their mask mandates but the guidance has not changed simply because people are getting vaccinated.

Quarantine guidance for close contact remains that if you are within six feet for 15 consecutive minutes and both parties are not wearing masks you are still expected to quarantine.

Teachers no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed and have been fully vaccinated. Individuals are fully vaccinated two weeks after the second Moderna shot. If teachers are exposed they would need to mask and social distance while at school.

“If you take that mask mandate away from schools there is potential for having a lot of people quarantine,” Public Health nurse Penny Tyynismaa said.

Tyynismaa referenced bussing and lunch rooms as potential reasons students may have to quarantine if exposed if they were not wearing masks.

“We are hoping schools keep the mask mandate through at least the end of the school year to keep kids in school and keep everyone safe,” Tyynismaa said.